50th birthday for hospital and its first baby

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Just days after Frances Perry House opened in November 1970, David Puli was the first baby to be born in the Melbourne private maternity hospital.

Half a century later they have both been celebrating their significant 50th birthday milestones, as Mr Puli and his mother Carmen returned to the place where his own children were also brought into the world.

“I grew up knowing I was the first baby born at Frances Perry House,” he said.

“Anytime we happened to visit the hospital we would always call past the nurses’ station and look at the commemorative plaque.”

Frances Perry House launched on 2 November 1970 as the private wing of the Royal Women's Hospital, having been named after the wife of the first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne. 

Mrs Perry was president of the historic hospital, now sited in Parkville, for 20 years from its founding in 1856.

“David was due on 24 October but thankfully he was late because Frances Perry was not finished by my due date,” Mrs Puli said.

“On 4 November I was admitted to Frances Perry and I remember walking in and there were nurses waiting for patients. The care was amazing. David was born about 4am on November 6.’’

Mrs Puli was so impressed by her experience that she had her second son, Adam, at Frances Perry House – and other family members also had babies delivered there, including David’s two children.

“When we decided to start a family, Frances Perry was where we wanted to go,” he said.

“It was still in Grattan St at that time. Obviously a lot had changed from the time Mum had me but the care we received was wonderful. My second daughter Lauren was also born there in 2007.”

By that time, the facility had undergone major development – started in 1997 – to become an independent private hospital co-located with the Royal Women's Hospital, where it occupies the top two floors. 

In 2005 it joined Ramsay Health Care, Australia’s largest private healthcare provider.

Frances Perry House has now had an estimated 190,000 births since opening.

“We are very proud to be carrying on the 50-year tradition of providing the best experience for our families,” the hospital’s CEO Shaune Gillespie said.

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